King’s spirit fills Sgt. Smith Theater, moves audience

| January 21, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spc. Marcus Defrance, HSC, 209th Avn. Support Bn., 25th CAB, 25th ID, sings "Take my Hand Precious Lord," during this year’s MLK observance at the Sgt. Smith Theater.

Spc. Marcus Defrance, HSC, 209th Avn. Support Bn., 25th CAB, 25th ID, sings “Take my Hand Precious Lord,” during this year’s MLK observance at the Sgt. Smith Theater.

Story and Photos by
Sgt. 1st Class Sheryl L. Lawry
500th Military Intelligence Brigade Public Affairs 


SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Time and space were blurred when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. started off this year’s MLK observance Jan. 13, at the Sgt. Smith Theater, with “Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation … ”

While watching an old black and white video recording of King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, the more than 300 Soldiers in attendance were sent back in time and became members of the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial, where the speech was originally given in 1963.

And, as if he were not finished and knew the Soldiers were there, King’s spirit hitched a ride to 2011, where he inspired Master Sgt. Charles Wilson, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, while reading King’s “The Drum Major Instinct” sermon.

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice,” Wilson read. “…Say that I was a drum major for peace. …I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

The theme of this year’s MLK observance is “Remember, Celebrate, Act! A day on, Not a day off!” The feeling in the air was of a visit from the past, and people walked away feeling personally touched by King himself.

“It was great. You could feel the sermon,” said Spc. Jaisen Barrera, 500th MI Bde. “I’d never seen or heard that sermon before. I was like, ‘wow, this is real.’ Even though Master Sgt. Wilson was talking, I was seeing MLK. It was 100-percent MLK.”

That feeling did not depart after Wilson stepped off the stage. As though a runner’s baton passed between them, King’s spirit then stood next to his spiritual brother and the event’s guest speaker, Chaplain (Col.) Rodney Lindsay, command chaplain of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command.

Lindsay spoke briefly about King’s education, his inspiration from Gandhi, his employment goals and how King “blossomed into a broad public career on the political platform to denounce segregation.”

Yet, it was when Lindsay explained to the audience how King’s historical and spiritual odyssey is still relevant to us today – through our values – that MLK’s spirit of bringing people together flowed.

“Values need heat,” Lindsay said. “Our core values need to get fired up, sometimes, in order for us to live life with a passion and to have a cause to live for and a faith to live by.

“When you heat up a value, you help people change states,” he said. “Want to jolt people out of business as usual? Heat up innovation! Want to untangle confusion? Heat up Strong Bonds retreats! New ‘states’ elicit new attitudes, new aptitudes and new actions.

“It’s not rocket science,” he added. “It’s just plain chemistry, which is a lot about heat. Let’s heat up our values!”

Lindsay, Wilson and King all inspired the audience with powerful words and examples. The three of them should have been hard acts to follow, but once Spc. Marcus Defrance, Headquarters Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th Combat Avn. Bde., 25th Infantry Division, took the microphone and sang, “Take my Hand, Precious Lord,” a favorite song of MLK, everyone witnessed a powerful end to a powerful observance.


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Category: News, Observances

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